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What sorts of records is CINA interested in acquiring?
CINA is the official repository for records of the Cayman Islands Government that are deemed to be of enduring value. CINA also acquires private papers or business records by donation, or in exceptional circumstances by purchase. CINA’s collections contain a myriad of records including textual documents, photographs, maps, films and oral histories. Potential donations undergo an archival appraisal to determine how it might complement the present holdings and benefit researchers. Please contact the Archive at regarding potential donations.
Do I have to pay an entry fee to enter CINA’s Reading Room?
No, use of the Reading Room and CINA’s resources are open to the general public free of charge. Every user is required to register as a reader (see question 4), at which time presentation of identification may be requested. Certain fees do apply for reproduction and publication; see Section 4: Fees and charges of this scheme.
Can I see all records CINA holds?
No, access restrictions can apply. Time-limited restrictions may relate to specific records, such as; the 100-year rule for Government census return forms. Secondly, some private donors have requested access restrictions to donated records. Other records may also be closed for conservation reasons. If a record has become too fragile to be handled by the general public, CINA will make an effort to provide an access copy as resources permit.
How does the CINA’s Reading Room process work? What do I have to do to gain access to your historical resources?
All of CINA’s Historical Collections can be viewed in the Reading Room, however appointments are recommended; the Reading Room is open Monday to Friday, 9:00am until 4:30pm, with the last appointment at 3:30pm. To make an appointment, please telephone on +1-345-949-9809 and ask to speak to the Archivist on Duty or email
On entering the Archive, you will be asked to sign in using the Visitor’s Book. When you use the Reading Room for the first time, you will have to register as a new reader. This involves completing and signing a form with your personal data which indicates that you have read a copy of the Reading Room Rules. In return, you will receive a Reader’s Ticket for future use. One of our reference Archivists will then assist you with finding the right sources for your research, however they do not conduct research on your behalf – see question 6.

Many of the records have been described on databases, some of which you will have access to, while others the Reference Archivist will consult on your behalf to find pertinent sources. Finding aids to many other records may require you having to look through printed catalogues, inventories, lists, etc. in order to find the records of interest. Be prepared to schedule sufficient time to carry out your research and if you are working to a tight time schedule, do not wait until the last possible moment to visit the Reading

Room with your questions. Please note that appointments may be necessary to view certain types of records, e.g. the records in CINA’s Photographic Collection.

It is important to note that the normal processing time for all photographic orders (prints or scans) is 2-3 weeks. Processing can at times be longer or shorter dependent upon the complexity of the job and the number of orders submitted for processing.
Can I borrow books from CINA?
No. Besides comprehensive archival collections, CINA houses the collections of the Reference Library, consisting of thousands of published titles dealing with Caymanian and Caribbean history, geography, sociology, economy, and many other topics of research. These are open for consultation by the general public, however, since many of the books and serials in the collections are rare or unique CINA does not allow original material out of the building. Reproduction services may be available for a fee and subject to copyright provisions. Section 4: Fees and charges of this scheme.
What do you mean by "CINA Staff are not authorised to conduct research on the researcher’s behalf"?
Archival sources are used for many different purposes, and readers approach CINA’s holdings from a huge variety of research angles, not all of which Archive staff may be familiar with. Once the reader is in the Reading Room and has become aware of the many sources, a simple question often transforms into a very complex, detailed or extensive quest for information. Under these circumstances the Reference Archivist on duty can provide the reader with sources, but ought not to be part of the interpretation of these sources. Therefore, when you visit the Reading Room, you should schedule sufficient time to do your research. It may be a good idea to call or make a preliminary visit in order to find out exactly which sources are available.

Last Updated 2014-02-05